Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys make second effort to overturn 2020 sex crime convictions in New York
By Lauren del Valle, CNN
Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has asked New York state’s highest court to reverse his 2020 sex crimes conviction and grant him a new trial, according to an appellate brief filed on Tuesday.
The latest appeal is the second effort made by Weinstein’s legal team to overturn his New York conviction on charges of committing a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree, which resulted in a 23-year prison sentence. The sentencing garnered praised from prosecutors and leaders of the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein has maintained his innocence and denied all allegations against him since they first emerged.
And his attorneys now argue that several rulings by the judge — who they claim was biased against their client at the Manhattan trial — deprived Weinstein of a fair trial, according to a copy of the appellate brief provided to CNN by Weinstein’s team.
Arthur Aidala, Weinstein’s attorney, said the legal team is asking the state’s Court of Appeals “to remind trial courts throughout the state that a defendant cannot be tried based on his character — but must be tried based on the conduct for which he has been accused.”
“The trial judge disregarded basic rules of NY law and allowed into evidence acts of misconduct which prevented Mr. Weinstein from testifying in his own defense to powerfully proclaim his innocence,” Aidala said.
In August, the Chief Judge for the New York Court of Appeals agreed to hear Weinstein’s appeal challenging the conviction. The judge signed the certificate to grant leave, which stated that “questions of law are involved which ought to be reviewed by the Court of Appeals.”
Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have until March 1 to file their response. A date has not been set for oral arguments in front of a Court of Appeals panel of judges.
In June, a panel of appellate judges in a lower state appeals court unanimously upheld Weinstein’s conviction, rejecting Weinstein’s first effort at appeal.
Separately, a California jury last month found Weinstein guilty of rape and sexual assault against one of four women he was accused of assaulting in Los Angeles. HIs sentencing in that case was pushed back and has now been scheduled for February 23.
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CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.